Short one today.
Elections in Paraguay just happened and I thought, "gee, why not talk about it?"
It's quite an interesting country.
Before getting into the election results and what they mean, I'll do a recent political overview of the country.
Paraguayan Politics in a Nutshell
Paraguay had a right-wing dictator from 1954–89. A guy named Alfredo Stroessner. Like any dictator, he governed through fear, censorship and getting rid of anyone who challenged him. In 1989, Paraguay transitioned into "technically" being a democracy, but corruption has been a problem ever since.
Interestingly, it was an internal struggle within the ruling Colorado Party that led to democracy, as opposed to any sort of public pressure.
So, the Colorado Party (a.k.a. the now-democratic party of the dictator) has basically ruled the country ever since, with the exception of 2008-2013.
As far as everyone was concerned, there was no fear of the Latin American socialist "pink-tide" touching this landlocked nation - it seemed conservatism had a strong hold.
In 2017, protests erupted on the streets of Asuncion, when President Cartes attempted to amend the constitution to allow him run for president again.
Folks were not having that shit - seemed the memory of the old dictatorship was still fresh for many. It also hinted at a pushback against general corruption.
Perhaps the days of the ruling party were numbered. Maybe older Paraguayans had seen enough of the country, and younger Paraguayans (which there are a lot of) wanted a more liberal government.
Well, turns out they didn't!
The Most Recent Elections
Yesterday, the Colorado Party won the elections by a slim margin, and will remain in power.
The new president of Paraguay is the son of Dictator Stroessner's private secretary!
Doesn't mean he's necessarily a bad guy...just a fun fact.
What do the election results mean?
Nothing too out of the ordinary.
LGBT and abortion activists aren't likely to be happy, but it's not as though the other side really had their backs, either.
And as far as the economy goes, things will probably be business as usual. The Paraguayan economy has done well in recent years, and it's expected to continue doing well. The administration will still have crime, poverty, inequality, education and infrastructure to deal with, but as long as they don't cock any of those up too bad, the economic outlook is better in Paraguay than it is in most Latin American countries.
Latin America has been pivoting to the right lately. Argentina, Brazil. Chile. Peru. Now Paraguay.
Is this a good thing?
The problem isn't so much left vs right down here, it's dealing with corruption and weak institutions. Those problems thrive regardless of who's in power; each side can fuck things up as bad as the other.
That said, I tend to lean conservative, and I don't much like the way the left has been looking in Latin America these days...pretty dictatorish.
So, I'm feeling pretty positive.
And that's it!
An extremely quick update on Paraguay's elections.
Until next time,
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